Review - Gura Gear Bataflae 32 litre backpack

Introduction

The Gura Gear Bataflae bags are available in 26 Litre and 32 Litre sizes and this review is based upon the 32 Litre bag.

The main features that set this product apart from the competition are the outstanding build/design quality using first rate materials (no PVC on this bag) and the "butterfly" opening. This enables one side of the main compartment to be accessed whilst keeping the other closed. It is also possible to fully open the bag in the normal manner.

Carrying handles are located on the top and on one side. The side handle is particularly useful when stowing the bag in aircraft overhead lockers. All zip fastenings very high quality and colour coded.

The zips for the main compartment contains rings for the fitting of a padlock. Both sides of the bag contain expandable mesh pockets and the lower section of one is reinforced to support tripod legs. Accessory straps are also located on each side and each side has two locations for them.

The harness system is fully adjustable and can be packed and zipped up out of the way when not required. All straps have velcro attachments so than unused lengths can be rolled up and secured out of the way. As well as a protective cover, a dust bag is provided to protect the bag in storage. The bag is available in three colours, Black, Stone Green and Tan. The photographs show the stone green option.

External stowage

 

The outer pockets are fitted either side of the bag. Each side comprises two mesh pockets (one zipped and one open). The facing side contains one open fabric pocket. On the right hand side of the bag the facing side also has a lanyard and clip for attaching keys or a memory card wallet and slots for pens and a small calculator or mobile phone (up to the size of an iPhone).

The mesh pockets will each hold a few ordnance survey maps or even a Canon 5D/7D sized camera body. The right hand mesh pocket (shown in the picture below) is a little deeper having the reinforced bottom section for tripod support.

A zipped pocket on the front (shown in the first picture) contains a protective cover, however I have moved this to an internal pocket as the zipped front pocket is better used for storing a memory card box, phone etc.

Internal stowage

 

By releasing a clip at the top of the bag the cover can be unzipped in the conventional manner to reveal all of the internal stowage. This is useful when loading the contents.

Many dividers in three sizes are provided and are attached in the usual manner with velcro.

In the picture below the bag is loaded with:

  • 400 mm F2.8 L IS II with 1D MkIV body attached
  • 1.4x and 2x converters
  • Landscape/Spare body
  • 70-300 mm L IS lens
  • 16-35 mm L F2.8 lens
  • 24-105 mm L F4 lens
  • Light meter
  • Lee filters, hood and other Lee accessories.

This layout generally gives me my landscape gear on one side and wildlife gear on the other.

As can be seen from the picture below, further zipped pockets are provided inside the cover. You can also see the velcro located through the centre of the bag and cover that provides the "hinge" for the butterfly feature.

Butterfly opening

 

With the clip at the top of the bag fastened it is a simple procedure to access just one side of the main compartment. This allows access without unnessesarily exposing all the contents to the elements or items falling out and becoming lost The zip is undone and the cover will open as shown below. This works in the same manner for each side of the bag. (Note: The Arctic butterfly box is there just to prop the cover open during taking the photo).

Tripod attachment

 

Tripods can be attached to either the right hand side or the front of the bag. The picture below shows a Gitzo Series 3 attached to the front. However I prefer to at carry large tripods separately. A smaller tripod should attach fine but I have not tried this. Full attachment instructions are provided in the product manual. The bottom of the tripod is secured to the bag with a "Kooh Cord" that is provided with the bag.

Harness system

 

When not required the harness system can be very quickly unclipped at each corner and put out of the way under a zipped cover. This is very useful for airline travel. The harness system can be deployed very quickly by releasing the zip, pulling out the harness and attaching the clips.

The system is fully adjustable and has plenty of padding and good lumbar support. Adjustments can be made to the Waist belt, Hip loaders, Shoulder straps, Load lifters and Sternum strap. The hip loaders can be raised/lowered as necessary by releasing the velcro, moving the strap up/down as necessary. With the adjustments made I find the back very comfortable to carry - considering the weight of the contents.

Dividers

 

The bag is supplied with more dividers than you will need for any configuration. The picture below shown the ones I have left over. The dividers are slightly thinner than I have used with other bags but they provide the required level of padding and protection and allow for a little more useable space.

Conclusion

 

It is early days for me with this bag but the quality and design are world class. I was a little surprised by the amount of gear the main compartment will hold because I was expecting to get a few more lenses into it, such as a 200 F2.8 type/size. The 400 F2.8 with body attached is also a slightly tight fit but that may loosen with use or maybe I can tidy up the fitting.

The bag was purchased for a specific holiday later this year and it will enable me to carry everything I require in one bag. The is no dedicated laptop stowage but the last thing I want to do is edit/download photographs whilst on holiday.

Specifications

 

External dimensions 14 x 21 x 9 inches (36 x 53 x 23 cm)

Internal dimensions 13 x 20 x 7 inches (33 x 51 x 18 cm)

Weight 4.2 lb to 5.3 lb (1.9 Kg to 2.4 Kg) - depended upon dividers used.

Manufacturers link

Price (March 2014) is £343.90 including £7.75 express delivery from CVP who I believe at the time of writing are the only UK provider of Gura Gear products. You can buy direct from the US for $449, but after adding shipping costs and export duty CVP are the best option, unless you visit the US and bring one back!